Allotment Seed Saving

I just looked at what I was posting 12 months ago and I’m doing exactly the same thing this week! The house is full of saucers and bowls and various other containers full of seeds. The soldier beans did well this year and they’re a great addition to an edible landscape because they are bush beans.

Bush beans require some support – usually twiggy sticks but they are highly fertile and attract many pollinators – as a result you can grow them more widely spaced and they still produce lots of beans. We often sow an informal hedge of bush beans to act as a windbreak for more tender plants like sweetcorn seedlings, but they can also be dotted about an edible landscape. We sow two seed in a paper pot and then when they germinate, pinch out the weaker one and plant the stronger, pot and all, alongside a twiggy branch that we’ve charred the end of (to stop it rooting!) and just stuck in the ground. The bean grows into the branch for support and with eight or ten spread around the place, we get a good harvest of beans without having to allocate a separate area for them on the plot.

At this time of year we just cut down the bean plant, leaving the roots in the ground to add to the nitrogen levels, and move the stick, if it’s still usable, to another location so that we don’t sow the same plant in the same place two years running. In edible landscaping, simple crop rotation is maintained by immediately marking a new spot for a crop when you remove the old one, otherwise it can be easy to forget what was planted where.
I’ve got packets of fennel and marigolds for companion planting, Royal Black Chillies, coriander, dill and garlic chives to swap, and we’ll be having a seed swap as part of the Grow and Tell workshop on 13 November, so I’m also packing up flower seeds like purple ipomeas, sweet peas, woad and lupins to be able to swap with people. The last place on the workshop was taken this morning so I’m looking forward to meeting some new participants and seeing how they get on with planning a theoretical crop rotation of their own!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, October 24, 2011


Blogger Joanna said...

Our shorter season in Latvia means I am now down to a tray and a saucer of seedlings, the rest were packaged up the other week. I have problems remember which is which at times, especially the difference between spring onions and leeks - I know, I know, I should have labelled them and I meant to. Does anyone have a neat idea for quickly labelling or sorting seeds as they come into the house?

October 24, 2011 at 3:10 AM  

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